What do you think of when you hear the word hospice? It evokes a certain reaction, doesn’t it?
As humans, we have a natural reluctance to think about the eventual need for these services, yet it’s inevitable. So we build walls and put the thoughts aside until they are thrust upon us in a moment of need.
We’ve built up misconceptions about what hospice is – and what it isn’t – and in many cases, it prevents us from seeking out the critical support hospice provides when it can do us the most good. Hospice benefits in many different ways. Hospice can be an important part of the journey your loved one is taking and provide the critical care that will benefit all of you.
Myth #1 Hospice is a place
Hospice, hospital, assisted care, nursing home – what does it all mean? It’s easy to get lost in the words and concepts when your world suddenly changes. Unlike physical healthcare units like hospitals and nursing homes, hospice is not a structure or a place. Instead, hospice is a comprehensive, patient/family centered care that offers compassion and medical care in the advanced stages of illness. It provides multidimensional pain and symptom management as well as emotional, spiritual, and practical support to those in need. It can be offered anywhere a patient and family chooses, including a personal residence, a long term care facility, or a hospital. It’s all about the patient.
Myth #2 Hospice is just for the patient
Hospice is about the patient, not the illness. That means supporting the patient in his or her time of need. That includes the entire community built around him or her. Hospice teams can include doctors, nurses, chaplains, nursing assistants, bereavement counselors, and even volunteers to help assist a patient and their families through their time of need. It allows the entire support system to address needs and concerns and get answers when they need it most.
Myth #3 Hospice means giving up
Hospice does not mean giving up on life. Instead, hospice gives a patient the rights to manage critical illnesses in the way they choose best for them. It allows patients and families to cope with and understand the advanced stages of illness and deal with the situation in the way they deem best. It’s designed to maximize patient comfort, and allow them to live in comfort and dignity.
Myth #4 Hospice is for end stages only
Many people feel that once they ask for help from hospice, the end is near. They define it by hours or days when in reality, hospice care is designed for many different stages of a life-limiting illness. Hospice is designed to improve care based on what is best for the patient and family. It means treating people living with advanced illnesses the comfort and compassion that best suits their needs.